Jenny Crissman MS L. Ac
At the physical level, defense, breath and renewal are expressed as the lungs, the skin and the colon. The Lung refers to the whole respiratory system and includes the nose and sinuses. Here oxygen is taken in and carbon dioxide waste is excreted. It is also where we inhale pathogens or toxins from the environment and in turn expel them through excretion of mucus and phlegm.
The skin is like an outer lung. The skin also breathes and exchanges substances with the outer environment. Its healthy functioning is seen as an aspect of Lung function. Beneath the skin the protective energy known as Wei Qi is said to circulate, defending the body against invasion from pathogenic forces.
The Lung’s paired Organ, the Colon, is concerned with release and elimination. The Lung and Colon together are related to immunity, the strength of the protective boundary. Pathogens most easily enter through the respiratory and digestive systems and the Lung and Colon are responsible for maintaining the integrity of these systems so that they are not penetrated by invaders. In TCM medicine, the body’s defensive energy is dependent on the strength of the Lung and Colon.
This is the season to tune into what is going on beneath the surface.
Diagnosing Skin Conditions:
In diagnosing skin conditions, TCM considers physical, emotional, and environmental factors. By taking the pulse, asking in-depth questions, and observing the tongue and skin, we diagnose the condition according to TCM patterns.
Skin diseases are generally caused by internal disharmonies, such as lack of Qi, blood, yin or excess heat and dampness. These conditions coupled with environmental influences, such as wind, dryness, dampness, and heat. Along with stress, diet, and the individual's constitution also contribute to these patterns. The result can be a myriad of skin conditions.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbs treat skin diseases in a unique manner. TCM addresses both the root (cause) and the branch (symptoms) of a condition. The treatment and diagnosis are tailored to each person's symptoms. Depending on the condition, treatment may involve acupuncture, Chinese herbs, or both. Often, one treatment cycle is once or twice a week for 12 weeks. Some conditions will clear rapidly, but others may take longer. The Skin is introduced to new environmental changes every season. The Fall is a time to prevent and fortify.
Acne: Acne is a common adolescent skin condition that sometimes continues into adulthood. According to Western medicine, it is generally associated with reactions to hormones, bacteria, and oils in the skin. In TCM, it is most often associated with dampness, heat, and in severe cases blood stagnation. Once the dampness and heat are cleared from the system, the skin will also clear.
Eczema: Eczema, also called atopic dermatitis, is a chronic allergic reaction which causes the skin to become red, inflamed, intensely itchy, and in some cases to blister. People who have eczema often also have asthma and allergies. All of these conditions are caused by heat, wind, and dampness, and can be treated effectively with acupuncture and Chinese herbs. The goal of the treatment is to clear heat, dispel the wind and dampness, and move the blood.
Other conditions: Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can also be used to treat psoriasis, shingles, vitiligo, uticaria (hives), warts, rosacea, and dermatitis.
If you or someone you know suffer from a skin condition, acupuncture and herbs can offer long term relief and prevention.
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